'Besides/Also, ...' - listing items

Li'l Bull

Senior Member
Spanish (Spain)
Hi, native speakers of English!

I'm wondering if the adverb besides is correctly used in the following description of a garden:

Mrs White has a beautiful, neat back garden. There is a stone fountain in the middle. Right behind the house there is a bed with petunias. Besides, opposite the flower bed, on the other side of the fountain, there is a bench where the lady sits most afternoons.

I'd use also instead, or perhaps no adverb at all - would you? The thing with this kind of descriptions, where you list several items, is that they tend to get a bit boring, and one might feel the need to add something like 'In addition, ...' or 'Also, ...' to break the repetition (i.e. the 'There is/are' structure).

I've been reading other threads, and several dictionary entries, and it seems that the adverb besides, when used after a full stop, seems to convey the idea that what you write after the adverb is more important than what comes before. Do you agree that this is always so, and therefore 'Besides, ...' in my example above is not correct? - I mean, in my example, the sentence after 'Besides' describes just another feature in the garden, but it isn't necessarily more important than the others.

Thank you in advance.
 
  • Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    "Besides" (= moreover) is a particular bad word to choose when you are talking about the physical layout of things, because it is easy to confuse with "beside" (= next to). Besides which, I agree with what your research shows, which is that "besides" indicates a change in emphasis -- usually conveying something like the sense that what follows would be just as important even if the first part of the sentence were not true. It's not a good general substitute for "also" or "additionally"; it's a little closer to "independently."
     

    Li'l Bull

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain)
    Thanks, Glenfarclas.:)

    As I suspected, I'd better forget about besides in my OP. I'd like to know what you would write in that gap - i.e. Also, Additionally, In addition, or nothing at all - as I said, perhaps there's no need to include any linking word, right?
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    I might have combined a couple of those choppy sentences and said something like, "Right behind the house there is a bed with petunias, and across from it, on the other side of the fountain, there is a bench where the lady sits most afternoons." But no, I don't think any kind of linking word or phrase stronger than "and" is really called for here.
     
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